Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Melk, Stiftsbibliothek, 601 (olim 51)

s. XVmed (the date 1460/1461 is recurrent, cf. precessional increment for 1460 on f. 204v and for 1461 on f. 68r and 253r, and astronomical table starting in 1461 on f. 190v; other dates include 1448 (see below), precessional increments for 1415 and 1431 on f. 68r, star catalogue verified in 1424 on f. 112r-123v, and 1438 for f. 219r-252r, cf. note f. 251v: ‘Et sic est finis tabularum primi mobilis anno domini 1438 incompleto, 17 die mensis Maii’), except for f. 210-218, said to have been copied in 1393 (f. 218va: ‘anno domini 1393° finitus et completus per manus Wcwuc (?)’).


Germany, probably Würzburg or its region (cf. the solar table made in 1448 at the meridian of Würzburg, which occurs three times, on f. 15vb, 69vb and 76ra; see also Georges), with material coming from Erfurt (f. 192v and 219r-252r, also tables for the latitude 51°, f. 29r and 31v-32v) and from the monastery of Reichenbach (f. 33v-36r). The reason why Glassner locates the MS in Austria is unclear and North’s hypothesis that ‘the items in this codex were assembled in England, and taken to Melk subsequently’ (North, 129) is also unlikely.


Hanns Geyer, high official of Emperor Maximilian I, in 1506 (cf. f. 1r: ‘Das puch ist Hannsenn Geyrs 1506’); monastery of Melk by 1517.

Paper, II+300 f., several hands, of which one recurs through f. 1-188, one copied f. 199-209 and one copied f. 255-300. Several folia seem to be missing before f. 210.

Astronomy and astrology: table of contents by Vinzenz Staufer, librarian of Melk (d. 1889) (Ir); John of Ligneres, Canones primi mobilis (1ra-9ra); astrolabe ‘Cum ascensiones signorum vel cuiuslibet gradus signi…’ (9rb-17r); ‘Modus inscriptionis stellarum fixarum rethi per distantiam earum ab ecliptica. Cum diviseris circulum signorum…’ (17va-17vb); Cristannus de Prachaticz, Usus astrolabii (18ra-26vb); ‘Compositio spere de media coniunctione et oppositione Solis et Lune, similiter de signis et gradibus eorundem quolibet die. Volens formare figuram circularem…’ (27ra-27vb); ‘Compositio instrumenti ad inveniendam veram coniunctionem vel oppositionem. Ad formandam figuram…’ (28ra-28v); astronomical tables (29r-33r), including ‘Tabula diversitatis aspectus Lune ad Solem extra septimum clima et latitudine 51 gradus’ (29r) and table of houses for latitude 51° (31v-32v); ‘Compositio pro formatione chilindri per quendam fratrem in monasterio Richenbach [Reichenbach] composita’ (33va-36rb); ‘Habito horologio in plano bene correcto…’ (36rb-38rb); astronomical tables (38v-53v), one of which for the meridian of Padua (40v); Alfonsine star catalogue (54r-68r), with precessional increment for 1415, 1431 and 1461 (68r); Robertus Anglicus, Quadrans vetus (68va-73rb); Prophatius Judeus, Quadrans novus (73va-81ra); Johannes de Harelbeke, Tractatus de spera solida (81rb-86va); John of Ligneres, Canones (86vb-105va); ‘In compositione almanach sic procede…’ (105vb-106vb); Petrus de Sancto Audomaro, Tractatus de semissis (107ra-111rb); Ptolemy’s star catalogue verified 1424 (112r-123v); astronomical tables (124r-131r); Richard of Wallingford, Tractatus Albionis (134ra-161v); albion ‘Sequitur compositio duorum instrumentorum. Pro faciliori modo habendo…’ (162ra-183va); canons of astronomical tables ‘Tempus eclipsis Lune invenire…’ (184ra-188rb); astronomical tables with canons (188v-191v); ‘Tabula mediarum coniunctionum Solis et Lune super meridianum Erfordensis’ (192v); Richard of Wallingford, Canones super quatuor tabulis (193ra-194vb); ‘Item sinus cuiuslibet portionis circuli est dimidium corde…’ (195ra-195vb); John of Genoa, Canones eclipsium (196ra-197va); Ptolemaica (199ra-209r); astronomical and astrological notes (209v); Henry of Langenstein, De reprobatione eccentricorum et epiciclorum, beginning gone (210ra-218va); Firminus de Bellavalle, judgement on the great conjunction of 1345, attr. John of Murs (218va-218vb); Alfonsine tables adapted for Erfurt (219r-252r); Henricus Selder, star tables for 1340 (252v-253r); canons of astronomical tables ‘Verum locum Saturni, Iovis…’ (253va-254vb); John of Saxony, Canones (255r-267v); astronomical and astrological tables and notes (268r-274r); Alfonsine star catalogue (274v-279r); ‘Canones tabularum magistralium. Nota ad inveniendum verum locum Solis…’ (279v-282r); Ptolemaica (282v-293r); tables: mundane prognostics according to planetary conjunctions (?) in the 12 signs ‘Expliciunt tabule pre…ales (?) de elevatione planetarum … (?) Anglia Iohannis de Guiden (?)’, i.e. John of Gmunden? (293v-300r). Blank: Iv-IIv, 17r, 111v, 131v-133v, 145r, 192r, 198, 300v.

Bibl. Catalogus codicum manu scriptorum, qui in bibliotheca monasterii Mellicensis O.S.B. servantur, Melk, 1889, 95-101 (no. 51); J. D. North, Richard of Wallingford: An Edition of His Writings with Introduction, English Translation and Commentary, Oxford, 1976, II, 128-129, 134-135 and 274; F. S. Pedersen, Petri Philomenae de Dacia et Petri de S. Audomaro opera quadrivalia, København, 1983-1984, II, 657; R. Lemay, Le Kitāb aṯ-Ṯamara (Liber fructus, Centiloquium) d’Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf [Ps.-Ptolémée], 1999 [unpublished], I, 229; S. Glassner, Inventar der Handschriften des Benediktinerstiftes Melk, I: Von den Anfängen bis ca. 1400, Wien, 2000, 270-275; S. Georges, Glosses as a Source for the History of Science. The Case of Gerard of Cremona’s Translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest (forthcoming).


‘Textus Almagesti in se [added by another hand, upper margin]. <Q>uidam princeps nomine Albuguafe in libro suo quem scientiarum electionem et verborum nominavit… (199va) <B>onum scire fuit quod sapientibus non deviantibus visum est — (203v) cum arcu noto cordam habentem notam. Et hec est tabularum descriptio’ (followed by tables, 203v-209r).

= Ptolemy, Almagesti (tr. Gerard of Cremona) (A.1.2)

, beginning and excerpts. Preface, 199ra-199va; I.1-11 and incomplete tables from I.13 and II.8, 199va-203v; selection of planetary tables from the various books, 204r; star catalogue, 204v-209r. Marginal notes by the scribe f. 199ra, 202v and 204v. Precessional increment for the time of the Alfonsine tables (+17°08′) and for 1460, 204v.


‘<M>undanorum ad hoc et ad mutatio (!) ex corporum celestium mutatione procedit, causas que rerum rimaturus per corpora celestia contemplateri (!) oportet. Ptollomeus (!): Item premisi libros in quibus tractavi de impressionibus planetarum in hoc mundo … Sciencia astrorum ex te et illis, nec convenit peritum illorum prophetare… Dixit Ptolemeus, ex te et illis, significat (?) quod cum qui res futuras prescire vult — (292v) et quanto melius quivimus exposuimus. Dixit Pto<lome>us: Stelle cum caudis 9 nomina (?) se habent — in regibus et divitibus apparebit. … (?) Centilogii Ptho<lome>y qui est liber amphorismorum centum propositionum.’

= Abuiafar Hamet filii Joseph, 〈Commentum in Centiloquium〉 (‘Mundanorum’ version) (C.3.1.3)

. The opening sentence is from ‘Mundanorum’, v. 1-21 from the ‘Iam premisi’ version (C.3.1.4) and v. 22-100 from ‘Mundanorum 2’ (same version in Erfurt, UFB, Dep. Erf. CA 2º 379 and Erfurt, UFB, Dep. Erf. CA 4º 376). No glosses.. The text includes Pseudo-Ptolemy’s De cometis (B.4) as the last chapter on f. 105ra-105va (see below). Glosses by the scribe or a similar hand. The text includes Pseudo-Ptolemy’s De cometis (B.4) as the last chapter on f. 292v-293r (see below). No glosses.


‘Dixit Pto<lome>us: Stelle cum caudis 9 nomina (?) se habent — in regibus et divitibus apparebit.’

= Pseudo-Ptolemy, De cometis (B.4)

, as part of the Centiloquium (see above). No glosses.


‘Dixit Ptho<lome>us et Hermes quod Lune locus in hora — ex hoc expertus fuit … (?).’